Category Archives: School

30 Days

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I tried my hardest to participate fully in NaBloPoMo but of course I missed a day and definitely phoned in more than one picture post. I do feel like it was a great reminder to put my blog closer to the top of my priority list and if for nothing else than that, I’m glad I made the effort.

Over the last 30 days I have seen the regular posts on Facebook documenting something my friends were thankful for each day. I didn’t participate but now I would like to take the time to fill in my 30 days of thankfulness.

1. The Lord. I would not be who I am without my service for the Lord.
2. Gabe. He is truly my other half and makes me better than anything I would be without him.
3. Aiden and Olivia. I would normally list them separately, as they are so individual, but they made me a mother and fill the piece in my heart so completely that I never knew was empty before they came along.
4. My grandma. She is truly the only mother I have ever known and taught me what it is to love and nurture a family. I am thankful she is healthy and happy and enjoys my children so fully.
5. My aunts. Without my mom in my life I could have had something missing but there never was because of my aunts. Linda and Cheryl brought more love to me and my brother than one person ever could and spoil my children beyond belief. They love it!! 🙂
6. My in-laws. There are a million horror stories out there about terrible in-laws and I’m glad to say I don’t have that. I have in-laws who treat me like their own and have given me the chance to have the sisters I never got to have growing up.
7. Friends. There aren’t words enough to say what my friends mean to me. I have friends who I’ve known for YEARS (I’m looking at you Brandi!), friends who I feel like I’ve known for years (Kimmie!), long distance friends I’ve never met in real life (Jenn and Dawn!), and nursing friends who walked with me through our battle and came out on the other side (too many of you crazies to list!). Each and every one of them has meant something important to me and filled a place in my life that would have been harder and emptier without them.
8. My career. I worked so very hard to earn my career and become a nurse. It means something to me that I can say that I’m an RN.
9. My job. Yes, it’s different than a career. I love my job. I just became full-time this week and could not be happier. In this economy a job is not guaranteed, even with an education, and I feel immensely blessed to have mine.
10. Our home. It is our sanctuary from the world and I am glad for it every day. I love coming home and relaxing at the end of the day and having a little private place that is just ours.

Ok, those were all serious things, now for the silly.

11. Coffee. I LOVE COFFEE. It makes me happy and it tastes like heaven and it is my friend.
12. Chocolate. Right up there with coffee.
13. Purses. I love a beautiful handbag. I love new ones and old ones. I love when the seasons change and it’s time to bring out a different purse.
14. Shoes. Gabe doesn’t like it (there’s just too many of them!) but I love shoes. The more the better and multiple pairs for every occasion. Love. Them.
15. Shopping. Even when I don’t buy anything I love to look and try things on and consider the possibilities.
16. Books. Finding an adventure in the written word is a gift.
17. Movies. My imagination can only go so far and seeing the creations that come alive on the big screen is more than my tiny brain could ever come up with.
18. Technology. I love computers and tablets and phones. Pretty much anything with fancy lights and whistles gets my attention. I think I get that from my dad, I still remember the first dial-up modem he brought home.
19. Dogs. Specifically our dogs. I love animals and our dogs are big sweeties.
20. Good pens. I have worked in offices for so long that good pens mean a LOT to me. Mine are pink so that they stand out and I can nab them if someone else picks them up.
21. Holidays. Whether it be Thanksgiving or Halloween or Labor Day, I love taking time and slowing down and recognizing different moments in life.
22. My car. Long story short, our car died and we had no idea what we were going to do. Our car came at just the right time and at just the right cost.
23. Gabe’s truck. Yep, they’re separate because they were two separate blessings. Gabe now has an extended can and it makes it so much easier with the kiddos.
24. Naps. Enough said.
25. Slippers. When you’re on your feet a lot during the day, having soft fuzzy slippers waiting at home is fabulous.
26. Christmas lights. It’s that time of the year and I’m like a kid when it comes to driving around to see them.
27. Music. I love almost all genres and can sing along to almost anything. Cranking up the sound in my car and shouting out lyrics is a huge stress reliever.
28. Breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day!
29. Restaurants. As much as I love to cook, having it brought to me is something to be thankful for.
30. Pictures. If you can’t tell from this space, I take a lot of pictures. I have a strong need to document and capture moments.

So there you have it. The month of November is done but I have no intention of abandoning this space in December. We shall see!

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School Breaks Are Rough

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My kids are creatures of habit. They know what we do and when we do it. They know that they get up, eat breakfast, get cajoled in to getting dressed, and get on the bus to head to school. From there the school takes over the routine. When school is out they get on the bus, get home to their dad or myself waiting (or both) and get inside for an afternoon snack. Homework usually comes next, then dinner, play time and bed.

None of this is ridiculously rigid or timed to the minute but it’s pretty basic and happens Mon-Fri. But not during a school break. School breaks are different.

I still have to work and so does Gabe. That means the kiddos go to grandma’s house or a babysitter. They are both wonderful options but it’s not the same as what they do all other days. When this happens, tiny humans get grumpy. They are off somehow, not quite the same and definitely more irritable.

While I think school breaks are a good thing, I also think they’re rough on working parents and rough on kiddos that are off their routines. I’m ready to sleep in on Thursday but of course, that will probably be the day the kiddos decide earlier is better and my internal clock says I need to be up no matter what l would like to have happen. Ugh, apparently I’m a creature of routine too.

Medical Mondays: I’m a NURSE!

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After two long years of nursing school, and four long years of school in general, I am finally officially a NURSE!  This road has not been easy by any means and I thought it might never get here but I actually made it out alive.

I started back to school part-time in June 2009 and knew for sure I wanted to be a nurse.  My community college has an extremely competitive nursing program.  I knew that if I wanted to have a fighting chance at admission I had to have excellent grades and a very good score on the entrance exam.  I finished my pre-req’s and applied April 1, 2011 for fall admission.  At the end of May 2011 I received notification that I hadn’t been accepted into the RN program but was offered a spot as an alternate to the LPN program.  To say I was disappointed would have been an understatement.  Going the RN route directly meant only 2 more years of school but starting in the LPN program and bridging to the RN program meant at least 3 years in front of me.  I got over the disappointment quickly and praised God for the opportunity to become a nurse, no matter the route it was going to take.

I started nursing school August 2011 and by the second day in I knew something wasn’t quite right.  I heard multiple students talking about their grades and I got the distinct impression something with my application hadn’t been figured right.  After two conversations with the Dean of Nursing it was discovered that a mistake had been made and I actually should be in the RN program.  There are no words for how excited I was and how extremely blessed I felt in that moment.

The feeling was short lived only because the reality of nursing school hit hard and fast.  Tests every week, lab check-offs every other session, and a constant fear of failure were my companions.  Getting through the first weeks felt like some kind of alternate boot camp where we had to leave who we thought we were behind and learn a whole new way of life.  Tests weren’t simple anymore.  There were questions with multiple correct answers but we had to know the MOST correct answer.  Yes, that’s right, the MOST correct answer.  It was like learning a foreign language that had multiple possibilities for one word but we had to make sure we knew the MOST right word.  Yep, like that.  The end of the first semester alone felt like a victory.  We had survived and we might actually get through this crazy thing.

Somehow three more semesters went by and I made it.  I passed every class, loved my clinicals, and made friends who I know I will have for a lifetime.  On May 17th I donned a cap and gown and joined my fellow graduates to celebrate our accomplishments.

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Graduation was one of the proudest times of my life.  I walked across the stage, was pinned as a nurse, and said the Nurse’s Pledge.  I had accomplished a major goal and it was a feeling of relief and pride.  But it wasn’t completely over yet.

To become a registered nurse you don’t just have to complete a program (diploma, ASN, or BSN) but you have to take a national exam to show that you are able to be a competent entry level nurse known at the NCLEX-RN.  The NCLEX was originally the “big test in the sky”.  In August 2011 it seemed like something that would never get here.  In May 2013 it seemed like the scariest prospect a nursing graduate can come up against.

The NCLEX is the road block between a graduate nurse and a licensed RN.  It costs $200 and it’s one of the most stressful and nerve racking things I’ve prepared for in all my life.  The last two years prepared me along with a live review and Kaplan course.  I studied for hours each day to try to prepare to pass a test that many people fail every day.  That’s a thought I tried my best to keep out of my head.

I scheduled my test for June 10th and told very few people about it to try to reduce the stress (yeah right!).  The test is only offered at certain testing centers so I made my appointment and Gabe and I stayed at a hotel the night before the exam.  I started my test at 7:40 a.m. and finished with the minimum number of questions (75) about 45 minutes later.  I walked out of the testing center at 8:30 a.m. feeling relief and fear of failure all at once.

Most people I know were finding out the next day whether they passed but it could be 48 hours before the quick results were ready.  I knew I had a wait ahead of me so I headed back to the hotel prepared to go to breakfast with Gabe and to fill the next day or two with distractions.

I started texting my classmates right away to let them know it was over and the wait had begun.  Less than 30 minutes later at a little before 9:00 a.m. one of my friends texted me to say my license number was already up on the state website.  It was official, I was an RN!!  I could have done a cartwheel, I was that excited.  It honestly didn’t seem real.  Everything I had done for four years was to make this happen and yet it didn’t seem possible when it actually happened.  I shared my news with the world and had so many congratulations it made me want to cry.  The support I had from Gabe, my family, my church, and my friends is truly what got me here.  I am a nurse and could not be more proud to be able to say that.

Now to find a job…

MedicalMonday

The Mountains Look A Lot Higher From The Valleys

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Monday will mark the official start of my second year of nursing school.  I haven’t talked about it a lot here but I am currently in the middle of my Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program.  One year left and I will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to officially become a registered nurse.

With less than a year left (really only NINE months – WOO HOO!) it actually feels like this goal is in sight.  The next two semesters are not going to be easy but it doesn’t feel as overwhelming as it did last year.

Last year it felt like I was flying blind and felt like I was learning a whole new language.  Now it feels like I have the basics and just have to build on them.  I was looking through my old notes (yes, I keep all my old notes and just about everything else and it drives my husband INSANE – love you babe!) this week and came across things I wrote down on the first day of class.

These may not mean anything to anyone else but to me these are a victory.  I have conquered APA style (I still don’t like it but I can ROCK it) and have no problem writing anything in this format.  I know what PPE (personal protective equipment) is, how to use it, how to remove it, and the rationale behind it.  ROM (range of motion) seemed scary and intimidating and now I could do ROM exercises on any patient that needed them.  I passed every “check off” (completing an assigned procedure in front of an instructor) on my first try and would feel comfortable trying anything from a catheter removal to starting an IV (I did get to do both by the second semester and couldn’t have been happier).

The first day of class felt like I was looking at a mountain that I might never get over.  It was intimidating and overwhelming.  Now I look back at how far I have come and I’m proud.  I can’t say that the mountain didn’t knock me down a few times (there have been very real breakdowns in the hallway after a test) and send me sliding down just when I thought I was making headway.  I can say that looking up the mountain doesn’t seem nearly as high and that I know I will make it to the summit before I know it.

If any new nursing students or prospective students come across this blog please keep your head up, even when you get knocked down a little, and know that if you keep going that you will have your victories too.

Why The Radio Silence??

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I am looking down the barrel of final’s week and it is kicking my butt.  I am buried in things like this:

Chemistry.  Blech.  I absolutely hate chemistry.  I will try to avoid anything in my nursing career that makes me have to break things down to their molecular formulas.  I say that with all seriousness.

This is Med-Surg.  I think my binder may explode if I try to add anything more to it.  Each one of the things in that binder might possibly be on the final.  My head aches just thinking about it.

And finally…

My Pharmacology review.  These are the kinds of things I need to go over before Friday.  My eyes start to cross every time I look at these papers.  I do very much care about medications and knowing what they do so that I can be the best (and safest!) nurse possible for my patients one day.  I get a bit nauseous when I think about trying to get it all out on to a test paper though.

So this is what I have been doing and why I haven’t been giving this blog the proper attention.  Hopefully after this week I will be back and definitely getting ready for more summer fashions and fabulous deals!